8 Simple Lifestyle Changes to Help Reduce Stress

How to Relieve Stress and Anxiety in a Healthy Way

Stress is our body and mind’s normal response to challenges in our daily life. Short term, it can help us perform better when the clock is ticking and we are under pressure, and it enables us to respond quickly to threats and danger. However, longer or constant exposure to stress can pose problems for our overall health – it can affect our physical health, our mental well-being and emotional state.

While we may not (to the full extent) be able to change what causes stress, we can focus on our reaction and our stress management. Now you’re probably thinking ‘easier said than done’, huh? Well here I offer 8 simple and healthy lifestyle changes you can implement into your daily routine, slowly and steadily shifting your mindset towards a slower, lighter, more mindful, and healthier way of living. Why do I think that can help in reducing and better managing everyday stress?

Just imagine 2 scenarios: in one, you woke up in a rush, you ate some pizza from yesterday for breakfast, while scrolling through social media, and you quickly got dressed and rushed off to work. In the other, you woke up in time, even earlier, you didn’t look at your phone right away. You stretched out a bit, meditated for a couple of minutes, and made yourself a healthy breakfast, which you ate mindfully, without any distractions. You had enough time to get ready at your own pace and went to work. Which of these two scenario-people do you think will handle that day’s work stress better? The second one, without a doubt. The cause (outside element) might be the same, but the person managing it will be different.

8 Healthy Lifestyle Habits for Better Managing Everyday Stress

Create a simple, but effective morning routine

How you start each day sets the tone for the rest of that day. Wake up early, give yourself time to wake up entirely – stretch or workout to wake up your body, meditate, and have a healthy breakfast without any distractions. Set yourself for a more mindful and focused day.

Go to bed early

Tiredness is like adding fuel to stressful situations. Having more energy is the first step in dealing with stressful situations more effectively. Also, in order to maintain a productive morning routine, it is important to get enough sleep and rest the night before. Go to bed early and enjoy your well deserved rest.

Avoid people who stress you out

Other people play a huge role in our everyday lives. Some people may not be that easy to avoid, but sometimes we keep hanging out with people that cause negative emotions in us out of pure habit. Re-evaluate your social life, detect who influences your life in a solely negative way, and re-consider how you handle them.

Practice deep breathing throughout the day

Set your timer for every couple of hours, and pause to have a couple of deep and mindful breaths. All of us easily get caught up and race through the day, this can help you keep yourself more grounded and remind you to pause every now and then.

Identify what is causing your stress and anxiety

Sometimes it takes us some time to recognize we are under huge stress or feeling anxious. Mindful breathing breaks are a tool in helping you understand your state of being – if you’re under stress, taking a pause can help you realize that. Beside acknowledging your body and mind are experiencing stress, work on identifying the cause. Look at your habits, your attitude about the cause, and the possible excuses you might be making. We often multiply our stressful response by building it up in our mind – break that cycle by observing it and calling it what it is. The purpose is not to minimize what is happening, but to minimize your reaction to it.

Get regular exercise

Except for having great physical health benefits, exercise can also be a powerful stress reliever. Whether it is a daily 30-minute walk, a fitness workout using an app on your phone, just find what works for you and stay consistent.

Reduce caffeine and sugar

If you adopt healthy habits, while still maintaining the unhealthy ones, not much can be done in managing and reducing your stress levels. Reduce your refined sugar intake and the amount of coffee you drink. Besides being your sidekick for stress relief, it can also improve your sleeping habits.

Avoid tobacco, alcohol and other drugs

Tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs, along with many other harmful health consequences, are also your enemy when it comes to healthy coping mechanisms and relieving stress. I just cannot stress enough the amount of negative impact it has on your overall well-being and how you deal with stressful situations, so here are a couple of useful links if you want to look more into it:


If you are struggling with negative self talk and wonder how to change it, this post can be your starting point for understanding how to deal with and respond to those negative inner thoughts and work towards finding inner peace.

These tips are aimed at those dealing with regular everyday stress and wish to improve their general well-being. However, if you are overwhelmed by stress, feel like you cannot cope, you should seek help right away. Ask help from a health professional, and/or call your local hotline.

With love and compassion,

Common Unicorn

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How to Use Mindfulness to Cope with Anxiety and Cravings

How I apply what I learned from guided mindfulness meditations to relieve anxiety and deal with cravings

Mindfulness meditation is the process of training your mind to focus, redirect your thoughts, and bring yourself to the present. As my favourite mindfulness meditation guide Sam Harris said: The practice of mindfulness is extraordinarily simple to describe, but it is in no sense easy. If you know nothing about mindfulness meditation, I suggest his page / book / app as a place to start – that’s how I did it anyways. 🙂

It is Sunday around noon, I have just returned from yoga practice and I am feeling amazing. The sun is shining, I am sipping on a fresh cup of coffee, and I have the whole afternoon to enjoy my process of typing my thoughts out loud. It seems so easy to be happy. This, however, is not always the case, right? Sometimes something bad happens and I need time to process it, or out of nowhere I start feeling anxious, even panicky. What now? How did that same girl that was feeling absolutely perfect is now feeling like shit, and sometimes without any apparent reason? This shifts in mood and emotional stages, especially the ones without an apparent reason, I took really REALLY hard, and by doing that, I’d even prolong the negative state.

I am an anxious person and I experience (all) emotions very deeply, I feel so much. It can be hard sometimes to deal with it all at once. A couple of months ago I started practicing mindfulness meditation, and I’ve been pretty steady with it. I still feel negative emotions, I still have thoughts I sometimes don’t even understand, and I still get very anxious. What is different now is that I have a tool – mindfulness helps me become aware of the sensations that happen in those moments. It helps me dissect them and see them for what they really are. I am still a beginner in mindfulness meditation so the best I can give you is my own experience and how it helps.

Using mindfulness for Anxiety Relief

When I’m experiencing sudden anxiety, I become more mindful of how my body feels, where do I feel it the most. Part by part I observe my breath, the pulsating in my hands, sweaty feeling on my palms and feet. I become aware of my thoughts. How they come on go. I don’t try to influence them, nor do I identify myself with them – realizing I am not my thoughts, I just let them come and go, and just like that, they are no longer here. By doing that, I don’t avoid completely the anxiety, but I don’t amplify it and it passes much sooner.

How to Overcome Cravings with Mindfulness

When I get sudden cravings for a glass of wine (or really anything with alcohol), I observe how this craving manifests physically. Realizing that the physical part of the craving (for me) is almost non-existing and that the craving is simply a product of my thought (the thought that is conditioned by the false idea that alcohol will calm me, unwind me, help me cope), I then shift my focus to becoming more aware of my emotional state, my thoughts. Usually, it means something else was on my mind, something was bothering me, or I needed some unwinding or something like that – I don’t just dismiss that emotion, I try to understand it, and then I cope in a healthy way (a cup of tea, stretching, a bubble bath, talking to someone, etc.).

Every body and every mind is different – these are just my experiences with it. If they spoke to you in some way, there are loads of apps with amazing guided mindfulness meditations. All you need is to just start and be patient with yourself – approach it with nothing but self-compassion 🙂

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Things You Are Missing Out On When You Stop Drinking - A woman peacefully enjoying her tea

5 Things You Are Missing Out On When You Stop Drinking

What To Expect When Quitting Alcohol For Good

As a self-proclaimed and newly formed advocate for sobriety, I’ve decided to make a list of the things I’ve noticed that I have missed out on ever since I ended my long-term and toxic relationship with alcohol (pun intended).

If you’re considering sobriety or you are in the early stages and need some additional tools to help you out, check out my post about 4 apps you can use to help you out in early sobriety.

If you ever wondered what would happen and what would you potentially be missing out on if you stopped drinking booze for good, this article is for you. So let’s dive right into it – here are the things I’ve been missing out on (but didn’t really miss) ever since I went alcohol-free:

Hangovers and hangxiety

As someone who struggles with anxiety and who used to have severe pain attacks, hangover anxiety was pretty awful. As much as I don’t miss the physical distress of having a hangover (headaches, nausea, dizziness, name it), the emotional one was even worse sometimes.

Feelings of embarrassment and shame the day after

I would remember some dumb stuff I’d said the night before and would just feel so embarrassed the day after. It was the little things – like I’d remember I really opened up to someone I barely knew or I’d be way to honest about my opinions with someone I didn’t care for sharing them.

Hanging out with people whose company you don’t actually enjoy

Okay, this one was a hard one to admit. I mean, that you’d hung out in bars with people whose company you didn’t even enjoy that much just for the couple of beers you’d drink together isn’t something you’d like to learn about yourself. But, nevertheless, it is the truth – and if you consider yourself a moderate drinker or you used to be one, there’s a good chance you have at least once experienced this (and that is okay – once we accept that part of us, we learn to avoid that behaviour and be better versions of ourselves).

Feeling bloated and swollen

I don’t know how common this one is, but it was a relief to get rid of it.

Restless sleep

Sure, after a couple of drinks I’d fall asleep (pass out) in a matter of seconds, but I usually wouldn’t sleep well for the rest of the night and would wake up tired, as if I slept half less than I actually did.


I could name some more, but these are the ones that first come to mind when I hear the words ‘you’re missing out’ or ‘then what do you do for fun if you don’t drink’. When I drank, I feared I would be missing out on the fun if I quit, but now I see that is not even close to the truth. Getting rid of the booze came down to just throwing out the bad stuff – and honestly it was the best decision I ever made.

What are the things you fear you’d be missing out on? Let me know in the comments – I’d love to address them in a future post. You’d be giving me great insight and I’d love to share my perspective. If you’re a fellow sobriety enthusiast or you’re sober curious (all of which are great shifts toward a better life), what are the things you’d add to my list? Let me know as well. I’d love to chat!

If you like this read, look into the 3 Things I Learned About Myself After Quitting Alcohol.

Until next time,

Common Unicorn

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